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Translating a Ceasefire

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News – Translating a Ceasefire
2008.09.08

The conflict between Russia and Georgia has been aggravated by poorly translated French, reports the Telegraph today. France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, made the claim on the eve of crucial talks in Moscow between the European Union and the Kremlin. The ceasefire was written in French before being translated into English and then Russian. A key point was the creation of ‘buffer zones’; when Mr. Kouchner was asked why these had not yet been set up, he replied ‘The translation, as always’. One example cited was a passage in the Russian translation of the agreement that speaks of security ‘for’ South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The English version, however, speaks of security ‘in’ the two areas. For Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, this was one of ‘a whole range of distortions’ in the translation. This emphasises the important not only of using experienced professionals for translations, but of good communication between translation partners. Global Lingo only ever uses qualified, certified and experienced professional translators, and is committed to excellent client relationships.

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